Competition between Zea mays genotypes with different root morphological and physiological traits is dependent on phosphorus forms and supply patterns
- 596 Downloads
Background and aims
Each genotype within species has a particular combination of root morphological and/or physiological traits to adapt to phosphorus-limited environments, which can lead to its unique plant fitness and competitive ability. Yet, how the various phosphorus environments affect the competition between genotypes remains obscure.
Two maize (Zea mays L.) genotypes (XY335 and HMY, bred in nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor environments, respectively) were grown in monoculture and mixture in phosphorus-limited soil with homogeneous or heterogeneous supply patterns and inorganic (Pinorg) or organic phosphorus (Porg) forms.
In homogeneous Pinorg and Porg environments, XY335 had higher root length and surface area, but lower mycorrhizal colonization and the acid phosphatase and phytase activities in the rhizosphere, than HMY. In heterogeneous phosphorus environments, XY335 had higher root proliferation than HMY. The root trait divergence influenced the competition in mixture: XY335 had a competitive advantage compared to HMY under heterogeneous phosphorus conditions, whereas HMY exhibited a stronger competitive ability in homogeneous phosphorus treatments; these reverse trends were more significant in the Porg than Pinorg treatments.
The results suggested the importance of root physiological traits in homogeneous phosphorus-limited soil environments, whereas P acquisition strategy based on root morphological traits favours heterogeneous phosphorus supply.
KeywordsNutrient patch Foraging strategy Root trait Mycorrhizal colonization Rhizosphere properties Plant interaction Genetic diversity
This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31772402, 31330070), National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFE0101100, 2017YFD0200200) and the Innovative Group Grant of the National Science Foundation of China (31421092). ZR is supported by Australian Research Council (DP160104434).
- Cahill JF (2013) Plant competition: can understanding trait-behavior linkages offer a new perspective on very old questions. Nova Acta Leopold 114:115–125Google Scholar
- Grime JP (1994) The role of plasticity in exploiting environmental heterogeneity. In: Caldwell MM, Pearcy RW (eds) Exploitation of environmental heterogeneity by plants: ecophysiological processes above- and belowground. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 1–19Google Scholar
- Grime JP, Crick JC, Rincon JE (1986) The ecological significance of plasticity. In: Jennings DH and Trewavas AJ (eds), Plasticity in Plants. Biologists Limited, pp. 5–29Google Scholar
- Johnson CM, Ulrich A (1959) Analytical methods for use in plant analysis. University of California, Agricultural Experiment Station, Berkeley No 766:25–78Google Scholar
- Lambers H, Albornoz F, Kotula L, Laliberté E, Ranathunge K, Teste FP, Zemunik G (2017) How belowground interactions contribute to the coexistence of mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal species in severely phosphorus-impoverished hyperdiverse ecosystems. Plant Soil. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-017-3427-2
- Neumann G (2006) Quantitative determination of acid phosphatase activity in the rhizosphere and on the root surface. In: Jones, D.L. (Eds.), 4.2 Biochemistry. In: Luster, J., Finlay, R. (Eds.), Handbook of Methods used in Rhizosphere Research - Online EditionGoogle Scholar
- Schmidt JE, Bowles TM, Gaudin AC (2016) Using ancient traits to convert soil health into crop yield: impact of selection on maize root and rhizosphere function. Front Plant Sci 7:373Google Scholar
- Semchenko M, Lepik A, Abakumova M, Zobel K (2017) Different sets of belowground traits predict the ability of plant species to suppress and tolerate their competitors. Plant Soil. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-017-3282-1
- Tilman D (1982) Resource competition and community structure. Princeton University PressGoogle Scholar
- Trouvelot A, Kough JL, Gianinazzi-Pearson V (1986) Mesure du taux de mycorhization VA d’un système radiculaire. Recherche de méthodes d’estimation ayant une signification fonctionnelle. In: Gianinazzi-Pearson V, Gianinazzi S (eds) Physiological and Genetical aspects of mycorrhizae. INRA Press, Paris, pp 217–221Google Scholar